Florida 22nd news
From the Palm Beach Post-
A retired Army officer who drew national headlines in 2003 when he fired a pistol near an Iraqi detainee during an interrogation is weighing a Republican bid for the congressional seat of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.Graber is a former Knucklehead winner.
Retired Lt. Col. Allen West, who is in Afghanistan as a private contractor advising the Afghan army, said Monday he plans to decide in May when he returns to South Florida on leave.
West, 46, was criticized by some and called a hero by others in 2003 when he fired a pistol into a barrel near the head of an Iraqi who was being questioned about his knowledge of plans to ambush U.S. forces.
The Army relieved West of his command and fined him $5,000 after the incident. He retired after 20 years of service as a lieutenant colonel with an honorable discharge and is receiving his full Army pension.
West lives outside Klein's District 22 in Plantation. If he runs, he said he'll offer "nonpolitical common sense" on issues such as national and homeland security, immigration, education and alternative energy.
In one of the nation's most closely watched congressional contests last year, Klein defeated 13-term Republican incumbent Clay Shaw in a Palm Beach-Broward district where Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats. The GOP has said that winning the seat back in 2008 is a priority, but two of the party's best-known potential candidates - state Sen. Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach and state Rep. Adam Hasner of Delray Beach - have said they won't run.
Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams has been eyeing the race. So have former Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Alan Schlessinger and pilot Marcus Flagg, whose parents were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Democrat Ben Graber, a former Broward County commissioner and state representative, has not ruled out switching to the GOP and running for Klein's seat.
Pardon the pun, but West's 2003 incident would supply plenty of ammo to the Klein campaign. A candidate who has this kind of obvious baggage while voters are unhappy with the war effort is not likely to be a winning candidate.
Right now the Republicans for the Florida 22nd look like the seven dwarfs to me. Unless a scandal occurs, I'm betting Klein holds his seat in the 2008 election.
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